As soon as we enter into silence, there are gifts that renew and strengthen our essential selves. These gifts are qualities that enlighten and bring real joy. I call these qualities "muscles of the heart." Entering into silence is like a gentle aerobic workout, exercising our heart muscles, reaffirming the best of life.
Compassion: As we slow down and enter in the silence, the urgency of our expectations and needs also slows down. Suddenly we find we have more compassion for others. Being in the beauty and quiet of nature, we discover ourself and those around us have more and more in common. Everyone is doing the best they can. Compassion grows in these moments.
Humility: In silence, all our ideas and accomplishments are not so important. We are human, with the same joys and fears as everyone else. As we breathe the fresh air and feel the gentleness of the moment, we have a sense of our nakedness, life's vulnerability. Our self-importance gives way to an awareness just being. There is joy in this! This joy supports our muscles of humility and respect for life itself.
Awareness: Life is much more than what we do and how much we have. There is our potentiality of awareness. There is a beauty in awareness without complex thought or goals in achieving something. Simple awareness, empty of everything, just being, present, gives life vitality, peace, and sense of unity. Normally, the roots of our awareness are grounded in our work, family, daily activities. It is beautiful to let our awareness be just in silence. This is a place that is underneath our personal story, separate from what we are doing, worrying about or wishing for. Our awareness can rest here.
God: Instead of believing in God or discussing God, silence gives us our own personal experience. The peace that is present requires no belief or religious discussion. The gifts of silence, like God, are beyond words. As we let go further into our own inner quiet, we find our own lightness of being. God is very close in these moments.
Patience: Patience is usually thought of as a good quality to have for someone else, perhaps our boss, partner, children, or waiting friend. Entering silence and practicing patience are closely related. As silence works through the muscles and bones of our personality, patience grows. We discover an inner smile growing as well, no matter what life is presenting us.
Beauty: Usually we are too busy to enjoy the beauty around us and the beauty within life itself! Silence brings us face to face with beauty in nature, beauty in one another, beauty of the moment. Everything beautiful is food for the soul. Silence, when appreciated, unveils a true banquet for the soul.
Letting Go: Letting go can be foreign in a world where how much we are doing and accomplishing is all important. Silence calls us to let go. As our hands slowly become empty, we begin to pick up something else. Life becomes much more than just reacting to the day's events around us. In our ability to let go, we learn to receive deeply what life brings to us.
Playful: In the silence we begin to take ourselves a little less seriously. As we lighten up, our inner child peeks out. Why not have some fun? What is life about if it does not include some fun? Suddenly silence can produce much laughter as we realize how important we make all our concerns and how simple a little joy can be. Who says taking off our shoes is not okay? Who says I cannot sit outside all afternoon in the warm rain? Silence and play are showing us life is a dance.
Offering: As silence brings us into the here and now, we realize how much of everything that is important is truly present, i.e., peace and quiet. In the normal world of wanting and needing, suddenly there is something more. We want to offer. We naturally want to offer what we are carrying in our hearts. We want to be free. We want to offer everything. Finding this muscle in the heart of offering is a wonderful gift. Giving of ourselves causes our offering muscles to get stronger. Offering and freedom are very good friends.
Gentleness: Gentleness and silence are one and the same. Being in silence is not a macho experience of seeing how little we can talk. Being in silence is coming closer to nature, to ourselves, to the gentleness of life. Silence touches the hard edges within us, and in this touch, gentleness is running through all the nerves of our being.
Grace: Grace speaks to something divine in life. In silence, an awareness of grace comes and goes like an ocean lapping at the seashore. As silence climbs into the very soul of our awareness, grace and gratitude can flow over us in an ocean of experience that can be described only as perfect grace.